In light of the Royal Wedding which took place this morning at 4 am (my time, and assuming nobody in the wedding party booked it out of there while I was slumbering), I thought I’d share my own story of the closest I ever got to being British royalty. Sure, I ain’t no Kate Middleton, nor am I even 1/10th as sexy, but I once stood just outside of Buckingham Palace while thousands of others took photos of me.
The funny thing is, the spectators and tourists didn’t know who I was. Not one of them had any clue. Yet so many of them stood with their cameras pointed in my direction, taking photos of some guy who “obviously must be important.” Why else would he be inside the gates while they all stood without?
Want proof that this actually happened? Well, okay. Just know that this photo was taken from my hip, and was very much against the rules. So, if you never hear another blog post from me again, I guess you’ll know that I got double-oh-sevened for sharing it.
|Click photo to enlarge.|
It wasn’t just me there. I was with my brother, his wife, and my (at the time) wife. The four of us were dressed in our finest dress clothes, decked out in sunglasses and radiating awesomeness.
|Another hip-shot, this one of my brother and his wife.
I risked my life to bring you this picture.
But how did we get there? That’s a good question. We actually started here:
We stood outside the gates with everybody else who was there to watch the Changing of the Guards. When we arrived, the place was completely packed with tourists. Then, a good-natured and extremely handsome bodyguard for the queen flagged us down, marched us straight up to those gates, cleared away all the other tourists, opened the front gates for us nice and wide, and we waltzed across the courtyard like we owned the place.
I mean, you wanna talk about feeling like you’re famous…
Let me rewind a couple years before I get any further in the story.
Same place, same gates. I was there on vacation with Noah and his mom, and we wanted to watch the Changing of the Guards. My brother and I both had our cameras with our nice long perv lenses, and believe me… they were not letting us inside. So, we stood with our faces pressed against the cast iron like every other schmo, excited to take part in this English tradition. Here’s a nice picture of the crowd that day so that you can get an idea of how many people gather to watch this thing.
And then. through the gates, we saw… this…
Okay, a tuba player from another country isn’t that exciting. In fact, it’s not that exciting at all. But to the left of him, standing back against the wall of the palace watching, were four or five people in shirts, ties, dresses, sunglasses, etc. I could have sworn I had a picture of them, but I couldn’t find it (so tuba player it is!) The entire crowd kept talking about these people, and so did we. They had to be royalty or something. They had to be important. They had to be famous. Why else would they be inside the gates?
We never did find out. Now fast forward to the part where we “waltzed through the gates.” After we walked past the crowds, most of whom were staring at us, taking photos, and mumbling things like “who are these guys,” “they must be famous,” and “oh my gosh, I’d have his baby,” we made our way across the gravel and to the place we’d watch the ceremony.
That’s where I snuck out my camera and snapped the hip shot above.
And this one.
And this one.
And, right about then, a guard came walking around the corner with a gun the size of Texas (to all Brits, I’m sorry, I know it is offensive to compare anything British to anything Texan).
Being that they told us no cameras, I hurried and shoved mine into my pocket and pretended like I wasn’t doing anything.
The guard stared me down while he walked. He had an entire line of guards walking behind him, all carrying giant guns.
Then, he spoke to me. He never turned his head toward me, but his eyes squinted and focused on me as he passed, and he spoke from the corner of his mouth.
“Don’t look a fool in front of the Queen’s Palace!” he growled.
Huh? That was all he said. I was dumbfounded not knowing why he had said it, yet feeling rather special at the same time. He made his way past us, dropped off one of his guards, and headed back in our direction.
Then, as he passed by again, another growl. “Get your hands out of your pockets! Don’t look a fool in front of the Queen’s Palace!”
He didn’t like my hands in my pockets. Apparently that must have been a big no-no there. I was just happy he wasn’t pinning me to the ground, forcing my camera away from me, and using it to shoot skeet.
I won’t lie. I was a wee bit embarrassed. I looked out at the thousands of people looking in at us through the gates. There they all were, thinking I was the cat’s meow, and inside I was apparently looking a bloody fool. And in front of the queen’s palace of all places.
And, that was that. We watched the rest of the ceremony and then we were escorted back out through the big fancy gates again. Thankfully, even though we looked like fools, none of us were nursing fresh bayonet wounds from the Redcoats. I had to be thankful, considering the circumstances.
And that is the story of how I came “this close” to being as cool as Prince William or Justin Bieber (I think they’re related based on nothing but hype alone).
I was famous.
Even if only for a second.
Even though I wasn’t at all. But it sure was fun.
I think I’m going to find a recording of the wedding and make sure that nobody has their hands in their pockets. If they do, we’re going to have words.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. What?! Did you actually think I would tell you how we ended up inside of the palace gates? Do you really think I care so little for my life? Come on… just think I’m cool for a minute… is that so much to ask?